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How do you figure out if soft driks have caffeine?


Fat Guy
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Some packages just don't say one way or the other. Is there a way to figure it out?

I have always understood that, unless a soft drink lists "caffeine" on the ingredient list, it doesn't have added caffeine. Whether or not there may be some natural caffeine may be an issue, but I don't think it is a huge one. I'd stay away from coffee or tea-based drinks. Something like Fresca, for instance... I don't think they make a big deal out of the fact that it doesn't contain caffeine, but it doesn't. Similarly, I think that regular Barq's root beer contains caffeine while the diet version does not. As I recall, I only discovered this by comparing the ingredient lists.

I know a number of serious Mormons (serious enough to have "temple recommends") who, as you may well imagine, do not take any caffeine. AFAIK, they don't worry about drinking sodas that do not list caffeine as an ingredient.

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I'm fairly certain that the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that caffeine be listed. Sorry, I don't have the patience to look through the entire act. I would think if nothing's listed on the can/bottle, there is no caffeine. Or you could just try drinking a six pack before bedtime and see if you can fall asleep.

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I'm fairly certain that the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that caffeine be listed.  Sorry, I don't have the patience to look through the entire act.  I would think if nothing's listed on the can/bottle, there is no caffeine.  Or you could just try drinking a six pack before bedtime and see if you can fall asleep.

Not true, if caffeine naturally exists in one of the ingredients, such as coffee, tea, or chocolate.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Not true, if caffeine naturally exists in one of the ingredients, such as coffee, tea, or chocolate.

I was referring to added caffeine. Does it exist naturally in soda?

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I was thinking specifically of all the different available Snapple choices. Tea of course contains caffeine. In some cases is contains a lot of caffeine. I assume most fruit extracts do not naturally contain caffeine. So is it safe to say that all the Snapple tea-based beverages are caffeinated and none of the others are?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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One way to do it is experimentally. Caffeine detection is a fairly standard experiment in high school and college Chemistry classes. Here is a link to a PDF lab assignment from Brown University.

Experiment 11B illustrates how one goes about isolating a natural product, in this case caffeine.  The biological effects of caffeine are known to most Brown students.
Another good source of caffeine is Coca Cola.  To illustrate how TLC can be used to analyze complex mixtures, you will establish that caffeine (or something with the same Rf value) is indeed in Coke.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I was thinking specifically of all the different available Snapple choices. Tea of course contains caffeine. In some cases is contains a lot of caffeine. I assume most fruit extracts do not naturally contain caffeine. So is it safe to say that all the Snapple tea-based beverages are caffeinated and none of the others are?

Do all teas contain caffeine? I thought herbals didn't.

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I was thinking specifically of all the different available Snapple choices. Tea of course contains caffeine. In some cases is contains a lot of caffeine. I assume most fruit extracts do not naturally contain caffeine. So is it safe to say that all the Snapple tea-based beverages are caffeinated and none of the others are?

Do all teas contain caffeine? I thought herbals didn't.

FG, I think I would agree that the non-tea-based Snapple drinks are probably caffeine free.

KNorthrup, I think the Fat One was referring to infusions made from the leaves of the tea plant, rather than infusions made from other plants.

Main Entry: tea

Pronunciation: 'tE

Function: noun

Etymology: Chinese (Xiamen) t'e

Date: circa 1655

1 a : a shrub (Camellia sinensis of the family Theaceae, the tea family) cultivated especially in China, Japan, and the East Indies b : the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the tea plant prepared and cured for the market, classed according to method of manufacture into one set of types (as green tea, black tea, or oolong), and graded according to leaf size into another (as orange pekoe, pekoe, or souchong)

2 : an aromatic beverage prepared from tea leaves by infusion with boiling water

3 : any of various plants somewhat resembling tea in properties; also : an infusion of their leaves used medicinally or as a beverage

4 a : refreshments usually including tea with sandwiches, crackers, or cookies served in late afternoon b : a reception at which tea is served

5 slang : marijuana

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"A lot" is a relative term, anyway. In terms of a brewed cup, tea has far less caffeine than coffee.

This page says:

Double espresso (2oz) 45-100 mg

Brewed coffee (1 cup) 60-120 mg

Instant coffee (1 cup) 70 mg

Decaf coffee (1 cup) 1-5 mg

Tea (1 cup) 40 mg

Cola (12 oz can) 38-45 mg

Chocolate milk (1 cup) 4 mg

Dark chocolate (1 oz) 20 mg

Milk chocolate (1 oz) 6 mg

This other page says:

NoDoz - 2 doses - 200 mg

Coffee Drip - 5 oz - 110-150 mg

Excedrin - 2 doses - 130 mg

Jolt - 12 oz - 100.0 mg

Anacin - 2 doses - 64 mg

Coffee Perk - 5 oz - 60-125 mg

Mountain Dew - 12 oz - 55.0 mg

Tab - 12 oz - 46.8 mg

Coca-Cola - 12 oz - 45.6 mg

Coffee Instant - 5 oz - 40 - 105 mg

Tea, 5 min. steep - 5 oz - 40-100 mg

Dr. Pepper - 12 oz - 39.6 mg

Pepsi Cola - 12 oz - 37.2 mg

Espresso - 1 shot - 30-40 mg

Tea, 3 min. steep - 5 oz - 20-50 mg

Chocolate - 1 oz - 1-35 mg

Decaf Coffee - 5 oz - 2-5 mg

7 Up - 12 oz - 0 mg

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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"A lot" is a relative term, anyway. In terms of a brewed cup, tea has far less caffeine than coffee.

There are "a lot" of variables, though, including portion size. Most people don't drink 20-ounce servings of coffee, whereas that's pretty standard for iced tea. And how long you steep it, the type of tea, etc., all affect caffeine levels as well.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"A lot" is a relative term, anyway. In terms of a brewed cup, tea has far less caffeine than coffee.

There are "a lot" of variables, though, including portion size. Most people don't drink 20-ounce servings of coffee, whereas that's pretty standard for iced tea. And how long you steep it, the type of tea, etc., all affect caffeine levels as well.

Exactly. Looking at the numbers I just quoted, a 20 ounce iced tea could easily provide 400 mg of caffeine... perhaps more considering that tea for iced tea is often brewed longer and stronger than tea for hot tea.

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perhaps more considering that tea for iced tea is often brewed longer and stronger than tea for hot tea.

Although that's usually because it's going to be diluted by ice.

I guess the only way to figure it out is to measure. Amazing, this isn't on nutrition information labels instead of useless crap like how much vitamin A is in stuff that contains none.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"A lot" is a relative term, anyway. In terms of a brewed cup, tea has far less caffeine than coffee.

There are "a lot" of variables, though, including portion size. Most people don't drink 20-ounce servings of coffee, whereas that's pretty standard for iced tea. And how long you steep it, the type of tea, etc., all affect caffeine levels as well.

I was getting to the notion that many people believe (go ahead, take a poll) that tea has more caffeine than coffee -- and it does, by weight. But since it takes much less tea (by weight) than coffee to make a cup, the amount of caffeine is much smaller. According to the list above, about 2-1/2 times less.

A 20-ounce serving of iced tea is actually about 10 ounces of tea and 10 ounces of ice.

Snapple teas are usually diluted with fruit juice.

And no, most people don't consume coffee in 20-ounce portions. They consume it in 4 five-ounce portions -- I'm on my thrid right now.

I don't have any ax to grind here, except maybe that people often don't know what they're consuming and rely on hearsay and folk wisdom that has little resemblance to the truth.

Another one is that espresso is loaded with caffeine -- which it's not, because the water spends very little time in contact with the coffee.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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  • 1 month later...
Some packages just don't say one way or the other. Is there a way to figure it out?

There are many ways to figure it out, much like skinning a cat. But, like skinning a cat, some ways are better than others, and one has the dubious distinction of being the worst, while another has the not quite as dubious distinction of being the best.

[research chemist mode] What's yer budget? [/research chemist mode]

Long and short is, if it is not naturally occurring in the tea, it has to be listed if it is in there. If it does occur naturally, then you are under the guise of an "herbal" via the FDA and USDA thusly, unregulated and unreported.

edit 'cos html browsers are not smart enough to show tags that aren't valid

Edited by jsolomon (log)

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Another one is that espresso is loaded with caffeine -- which it's not, because the water spends very little time in contact with the coffee

Dave, that is fascinating. i completely agree that most of us live in ignorance and assume that acquired knowledge (from where? - the media i guess) is accurate.

Specifically on espresso though: does it contian more caffeine the longer it is? ie more caffeine is extracted the more water is forced through the grains? so a "short" ristretto would actually have less caffeine than a "long" doppio?

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Specifically on espresso though: does it contian more caffeine the longer it is? ie more caffeine is extracted the more water is forced through the grains? so a "short" ristretto would actually have less caffeine than a "long" doppio?

enthusiast,

Based on experience and solubility data from this page Laboratory analysis of caffeine (educational) I got that caffeine solubility is 22 mg/ml at room temperature. That means that at room temperature, in a 1.5 ounce [double] shot you have a theoretical maximum of 935 mg of caffeine.

If we figure that a double shot uses 17 grams of coffee, which is what I use in my regular cups of coffee, we have a limit of about 120 mg of caffeine using a regular brew method (from slkinsey's post).

Using gardfoods information saying that arabica is 1.1 to 1.7% caffeine by weight, so, there is a theoretical upper limit of 289 mg of caffeine available in green coffee beans. However, caffeine is destroyed by roasting. I couldn't find any data on how much is destroyed.

However, my experience tells me that given the temperature and pressure that espresso is brewed at, and with caffeine's room temperature solubility being about 5 times the available caffeine in your puck, I would say that you successfully extract 95% of the caffeine, which implies that an appreciable amount of caffeine is destroyed by roasting. Also, the darker espresso roast has detectably less caffeine because of the roasting process, so I think these "napkin" calculations are not unreasonable.

Eschewing further obfuscation, I think a longer or a shorter pull will mainly change the flavor, not the caffeine content, unless you get into pulls that are less than a few seconds long, in which case, you probably wouldn't wet all of the puck, either.

FYI, there is an ISO for determining caffeine content adopted in 1983 if anyone is interested. ISO 4052:1983

EDIT: Give a clearer answer

Edited by jsolomon (log)

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I just read the topic name more clearly...

What is the difference between a soft and a hard drik?

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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  • 1 month later...
This other page says:

NoDoz - 2 doses - 200 mg . . .

Actually, IIRC, caffeine pills are usually 200 mg each, which they say is roughly equivalent to 2 cups of coffee.

I take half a "Jet Alert" (cheapo faux NoDoz) with breakfast because I want the caffeine but don't feel like chugging all that hot liquid. :blink:

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Can I ask a relatively off-topic question about Snapple? Back when I spent the summer of '94 in NYC, I drank a lot of Snapple cherry soda. I think it was called "French" cherry soda for some reason. As far as cherry soda goes, it was great. Does this product still exist?

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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There definitely used to be a Snapple French Cherry Soda, as well as a whole line of interesting Snapple sodas. As far as I know, however, Snapple no longer makes sodas.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Can I ask a relatively off-topic question about Snapple? Back when I spent the summer of '94 in NYC, I drank a lot of Snapple cherry soda. I think it was called "French" cherry soda for some reason. As far as cherry soda goes, it was great. Does this product still exist?

Snapple has a list of retired flavors on their web site. FWIW it doesn't list French Cherry Soda.

Retired Flavors

Sodas

• Diet Lemon Lime

• Ginger Ale

• Jamaican Ginger Beer

• Kiwi Peach

• Passion Supreme

• Peach Melba

• Raspberry Royale

• Strawberry

Seltzers

• Black Cherry

• Lemon Lime

• Original

• Tangerine

Gustatory illiterati in an illuminati land.
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